If we’re all islands in a common sea then booking an island holiday is a tsunami of uncertainty leaving us running for higher ground – let us be that perch from which you’ll see clearly the myriad of options a few mouse clicks click away.
Whether you’re looking for sun and sand, scenery and the city, or even clouds and caves we’ve got something for you.
Here are the 11 best European islands to visit.
Don’t forget to check out our list of the best low cost holidays in Europe.
This super laid-back, sparkling blue Italian gem is home to the most centenarians in the world (22 people over 100 per 100,000 inhabitants) owing to its steady diet of seafood, sunshine, and complete lack of motorways – stress? Not a chance.
One of the world’s smallest countries by area is also one of the world’s most densely populated and historic – the ancient Megalithic Temples here are older than Stonehenge but most people come for the glittering coves and scuba diving.
One of the official languages? English 😉
This tiny island famous for fine sand beaches, grapes, wine, and red poppies has a population of less than 3000 inhabitants making it the perfect place to relax outside the tourist chaos.
Greece’s ‘postcard island’ used to be called Kallístē (‘the most beautiful one’) and we won’t argue here – today it’s the perfect place to dig your feet into black sand beaches, go for a hike, and take sunset sea cruises.
The biggest of the seven Canary Islands off the southern coast of Morocco has a December mean temperature average of 22 degrees, giving sun seekers a convenient winter respite.
Life isn’t all about sun is it? Skye (old Norse for ‘cloud island’) is the largest of the Inner Hebrides archipelago and gives tourists great climbing and hiking opportunities among the dramatic mountain scenery not to mention a ton of cosy pubs.
This scenic island a short ferry hop from Naples has been immortalised in a ton of high fashion and cologne adverts but tourists come for the famous Blue Lagoon, the stunning views, water sports, and plates full of amazing Italian cuisine.
Croatia’s sunniest island has 2726 hours of sunshine a year, some of the cleanest water in all of Europe, and is home to Europe’s first public theater built in 1612.
The only Greek island not conquered by the Turks may be small but it produces 3% of the world’s olive oil. Fans of nature will love the rare reptiles, 6000 plant and flower species, and 119 beaches.
This land of midnight sun and spectacular greenery doesn’t let being 45 km out to sea be a sorry excuse for no music festivals! Dubbed the ‘most remote music festival in the world’, the Traena Festival has an eclectic lineup of artists performing inside caves and even a church with blacked out windows.
The largest island in the Mediterranean is perhaps most famous for being the birthplace of the mafia but is also fertile soil for some of the world’s best wine and olive oil. The island’s biggest city Palermo gives the island an urban bent not found on other islands in this list and is undoubtedly the street food capital of Europe – the arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with meat) are out of this world.